Image by Marina Reich


Image by Annie Spratt




Founder of Signified Law

Melanie was on a different life and career path when fate stepped in and the legal profession found her. After she overcame challenges of divorce and child custody, largely due to an attorney's advocacy, Melanie felt called to become a lawyer herself. Her experience as a client gives her an insightful perspective on what clients face while her education provides an understanding of the legal attributes of each case. Having genuine empathy, a knack for research and writing, and a tenacious spirit, Melanie aims to advocate for and empower each client by helping them navigate their case and move beyond adversity.

Over the years, Melanie grew disheartened as she observed others' disappointment in their legal matters. Between wanting to offer people an improved legal experience and knowing that Big Law was not her path, Melanie was motivated to open a client-friendly law practice built on integrity, compassion, and accessibility. As a result, Signified Law was born.

Melanie operates with a level-headed, balanced approach on delicate issues as she recognizes it doesn’t benefit a client to inflame an already adversarial situation. As the emotional and financial cost to the client tends to be greater the longer a case drags out in court, Melanie offers alternative solutions such as mediation and/or negotiation with the goal of settling matters more favorably and expeditiously out of court. Regardless of the strategy, her sole purpose is to lighten the client's load and protect their interests. 


While obtaining her Juris Doctorate degree, Melanie became a certified mediator and subsequently co-created a divorce mediation program at the Mandel Gisnet Center for Conflict Management in Monterey County. As a mediator, Melanie found it rewarding facilitating others as they created their own fair solutions. She also interned for a child advocacy law firm, attending family court where she worked alongside judges, social workers, addiction counselors, and child advocacy attorneys in the pursuit of reunifying separated families. 

While in her final year of law school, Melanie was honored to be chosen as a moot court finalist. In front of a large audience at the California State University of Monterey Bay’s World Theater, she successfully argued a controversial Second Amendment issue before a panel of state appellate and local judges.

Before relocating from the Central Coast to the East Bay, Melanie interned for and was mentored by the highly respected Heidi Simonson, Esq. of Santa Cruz County. Under Ms. Simonson’s guidance, Melanie began practicing family law, working on divorce, child custody, guardianships, and adoption cases. 

Melanie is a member of the California Lawyers Association and its Family Law Section. Her past memberships include Santa Cruz County Bar Association, Women Lawyers of Santa Cruz, and Young Lawyers of Santa Cruz.

When Melanie isn't working, she spends quality time with her family and close friends. She loves laughing almost as much as she enjoys making others laugh. Melanie's pastimes include writing, singing, songwriting, reading, researching, watching films, travel, amateur photography, cooking, deep conversation, kayaking, being in nature, and taking long walks. She is especially fascinated in learning about the powerful mind-body connection and is grateful on a daily basis for having a faith that grounds her.